Copy Cat

It seems that the hilarious, mysterious, and all together fabulous novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, has captured my full attention since my last post – and what a story!  I highly recommend it to everyone.  Maybe I will write up a little review after I have let the true stories from Savanna, Georga really sink into my soul before I write how I feel about them.

Blogcrastinating?  Perhaps.

I have also been getting into Pinterest a lot lately.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically a forum where you can take pictures from other people’s websites, blogs, or Pinterest boards and “repin” them to your own boards.

Yes, it’s pretty much a site that encourages copy cats.  So what!

Pinners don’t plagiarise – you just copy images into self-made categories and browse through lots of other users boards and track where the original link came from.

I kind of like it:  it’s fun, it’s time consuming, and there are lots of great images for when you feel your own creativity may be lacking; instead, you can organize other people’s creative images into neat little categories of your own.

<– Please note my new sidebar & follow me on Pinterest!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Perhaps it will make me feel slightly better about how I spend my time.

Advertisements

Just Think About It

Hello Out There,

This past week there has been a lot of hype about the new Twilight movie.  While I have never read the books; nor, do I ever plan to, the entire saga has really been getting to me.  To be fair, I did  watch the first half or so of the first movie (and then fell asleep…)  This is odd because normally, I love fantasy novels/movies.  I adore Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Hitchhikers Guide to the GalaxyIndiana Jones, etc, etc, you get the picture…

My issue is the negative ways female sexuality and empowerment are portrayed and how much girls are obsessed with “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” – where is Team Bella? (More on this in the article below).  Also the way that teen pregancy and marriage are romanticized–not to mention the heavy anti-abortion theme kicking around in this new movie.

Don’t get me wrong, Robert Pattinson is a bona-fide hottie, and I get the appeal of a fantasy flick, but I just hope that anyone who indulges in the Twilight series actually thinks about the major themes that the mormon author, Stephanie Meyers, is slamming into her readers faces.

So, I have been scouring the internet, reading various articles about the books and movies, and have generally become more and more disgusted the more and more I learn.  The following is an excerpt from Ms. Magazine that is just one of the responses to the novels and movies.  Basically, this post is asking everyone to just think about what you are reading/watching, and the true meaning behind it.

Talking Back to Twilight

By Carmen D. Siering

In Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, a wildly popular four-book series of young adult novels, the protagonist Bella Swan—by all accounts a very average human girl—has two suitors. One is the unimaginably beautiful vampire, Edward, the other a loyal and devoted werewolf, Jacob. Fans of the books, and now a movie version, often break into “teams,” aligning themselves with the swain they hope Bella will choose in the end: Team Edward or Team Jacob.

But few young readers ask, “Why not Team Bella?” perhaps because the answer is quite clear: There can be no Team Bella. Even though Bella is ostensibly a hero, in truth she is merely an object in the Twilight world.

On the surface, the Twilight saga seems to have something to please everyone. Moms are reading the books and swooning over Edward right alongside their teen and tween daughters. Librarians and teachers are delighted to see students with their heads tucked into books, and since Twilight’s romantic sensuality is wrapped up in an abstinence message, all the kissing and groping appear to be harmless.

But while Twilight is ostensibly a love story, scratch the surface and you will find an allegorical tale about the dangers of unregulated female sexuality. From the very first kiss between Edward and Bella, she is fighting to control her awakening sexuality. Edward must restrain her, sometimes physically, to keep her from ravishing him. There are those who might applaud the depiction of a young man showing such self-restraint, but shouldn’t the decision about when a couple is ready to move forward sexually be one they make together?

Meyer insists that she sees Bella as a feminist character, since the foundation of feminism is being able to choose. What Meyer fails to acknowledge is that all of the choices Bella makes are Meyer’s choices—choices based on her own patriarchal Mormon background. In Breaking Dawn, the latest book in the series, Meyer finally allows Bella’s subordination to end as she takes her proper place: in the patriarchal structure. When Bella becomes a wife and mother, Meyer allows her to receive her heart’s desire—to live forever by Edward’s side, to be preternaturally beautiful and graceful, to be strong and be able to defend herself.

Director Catherine Hardwicke’s film version of Twilight remains true to the novel, but there are subtle changes that make it much more feminist-friendly. Kristin Stewart’s Bella is more outspoken and forthright, and Robert Pattinson’s Edward is much less condescending and overbearing. Their relationship seems to be built on equality and friendship, and includes scenes of mutual sexual frustration and restraint. Here is a Bella we can root for.

Excerpted from the Spring 2009 issue of Ms. – join the ms. community at www.msmagazine.com.

Carmen D. Sieringis an assistant professor of English and women’s studies at BallStateUniversity in Muncie, Ind. One of her research areas is popular culture and its influence in the lives of girls and women.

If you are interested reading more articles about the Twilight saga, here are a few to check out:

Bite Me (Or Don’t)BitchMedia – by Christine Seifert

Film Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1CBC News – by Eli Glasner

What if you want a film that promotes “the egg as person” meme of recently proposed pro-life laws? Then Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is the Flick for You – Professor, What If?

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Shakespeare

Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go.

Anonymous

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.

Katherine Hepburn

A break up is like a broken mirror. It is better to leave it broken than hurt yourself to fix it.

Anonymous

Poor Mary Ann! She gave the guy an inch and now he thinks he’s a ruler.

Mae West

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never get through it without your friends.

Anonymous

If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.

Amy Tan

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is the most valuable thing you have to offer.

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.

Janice Joplin

Chicken Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar

I am always on the lookout for new chicken recipes. This one is adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, Fiama by Michael White. Italian cooking at its finest.

If you love to dip your bread in oil and vinegar – which is an almost nightly ritual at my house – you will la-la-la-looove this recipe!

You will need:

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 springs fresh thyme

Whole chicken, skin on

1 onion

Sea salt and pepper

½ cup chicken stock

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

In Advance:

Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and garlic.

Combine with thyme and chicken in a large plastic bag.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

(I cheated once before and marinated for only 1 hour because I only used two chicken breasts, still turned out great – but it really is worth the wait if you can find the time.)

To Begin:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Remove chicken from the marinade bag and pat dry with paper towels.

Chop one small onion into quarters and stuff into the chicken’s butt.

Fun times.

Season again with salt and pepper and place chicken, skin side up, in a heavy baking dish just large enough to hold it. Place thyme from marinade bag on the bottom and top with a little olive oil.

Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour.

Transfer to a serving platter and let rest.

On top of the stove, place baking dish over medium-high heat.

Stir the chicken stock into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom with a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley.

Serve with your favourite roasted veggies and big glass of red wine.

20111108-130317.jpg

Now that’s good eatin’ food right thurr.  Yes siree-bob.

Birchin’

Did everyone have a good weekend?  I did!

Last night, I was relaxing, watching CTV’s new show, Once Upon A Time, when I spied with my little eyes an office design that is oh-so-sublime.

Although being inside of it for long periods of time might have a dizzying effect, it’s fun to look at in pictures; not to mention an extremely fitting setting for the evil Queen to reside in.

It got me thinking about how much I enjoy birch tree prints.  Lately, I have been seeing it everywhere and wishing I had a place in my own home to wallpaper.  Sigh, someday.

I think it is tricky to pull off, but when done right – wowwy-wow-wowwww – does it make a statement.

Check out these birchin’ design ideas:

This room is totally over-the-top,  it is a fairy tale set after all.  I love how the entire room is black white and symmetrical all over – it’s frighteningly modern.

Evil Queen's Office from the Once Upon A Time Set

Not brave enough to wallpaper an entire room?  Or maybe you just can’t afford wallpaper? Small accents like this organizer are the perfect solution.

Organizer from This Next

This chair is stunning.  My mom has a set of wingback chairs I am just dying to reupholster with this pattern.  So chic.

Chair from Design Sponge

A cozy cabin feel, birch on the bed is a nice, relatively neutral touch.  I think it would work well in any colour pallet.

Bedding from Pottery Barn

What a creative and simple wall accent for the high ceilings in this modern attic apartment.  Really draws the eye upwards.

Staircase from Design Sponge

Now this is ideal for a renter like me – small, cheap, mobile, goes with everything – not to mention elegantly functional.

Little Birch Tree Jewelry Stand from Urban Outfitters

Will you try adding some birch trees to your space?  In what form?

Eat-In Kitchen from Design Sponge

All in all, I think the birch pattern is bitchin’, no matter how you use it.

I’d love to read your comments!

Leek, Thyme & Potato Soup

Soothing, calming & delicious… Leek, Thyme & Potato Soup.

This recipe is so simple and so filling, it’s perfect for the person on a budget, and the person who just wants to warm up on a chilly winter’s night.

Not that it’s winter yet, but in the evening it sure it starting to feel that way…

You will need:

 —

2 lbs leeks

1 lb potatoes

2-3 sprigs of thyme

1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

water

salt & pepper

Yes, that’s it!

Begin by chopping and cleaning leeks and potatoes.

Melt butter in a large pot.

20111104-101922.jpg

Add leeks, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Always remember, there’s no such thing as too much butter!

So go ahead, add a little more…

20111104-101929.jpg

Add potatoes, and a little more S & P.

20111104-101935.jpg

Add just enough water to cover ingredients.  Cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

20111104-101942.jpg

Add milk, cream, and salt & pepper to taste.  Cover again for 30 minutes.

The potatoes will begin to fall apart, thickening the soup.

Pull out the thyme stems, the leaves will have fallen off by now.

20111104-101950.jpg

Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Depending how you like it, you could puree the entire soup at this point.

I kept it rustic.

20111104-101956.jpg

Creamy and filling: a true winter warming soup.

Depending on how big your bowls are, makes 4-8 servings.

I am excited to eat mine – again!

Can’t wait for lunch time 🙂

Oh Crackle

Recently I have been eyeing up nail art blogs. Mainly because after 21 years I have finally ditched my disgusting nail-biting habit.  Yay for me!  For my first nail art, I’m keeping it simple. Crackle-simple.

OPI base coat

+

 2 coats Sally Hansen pale pink (nail growth formula)

+

1 coat Sally Hansen black crackle

+

1 coat OPI top coat

=

20111102-155525.jpg

(Plus my cool double finger ring from Forever 21, $2)

20111102-155535.jpg

Crackle is awesome because if it chips off, nobody notices!

Now I can have pretty punk rock girly nails too 🙂

Winter Warriors, Unite!

I hate to admit it, but it’s time to get prepared for battle.

I was inspired to write this post as a spin-off from Refinery29’s, “Warm Winter Accessories for Chicago.”

All I could think was, pfffft, Chicago.  (Not that I’ve ever been there…yet).  But I can only imagine that in some way our annual battle against the great Canadian winter is worse than Chicago’s.

Even if that’s not entirely true, I think we still need to prep…

How, you ask?

Well, let me show you a few ways.

Those beauts are right off Refinery29 and the reason I actually want to think about winter accessories!  Fabulous!

Knitted Cuff Leather Gloves - $57 - Warehouse

Until the snow actually begins to fly, why not update your old go-to black flats with a shoe that makes a statement.

Bow Flats - $39 - Joe Fresh

It’s far too easy to end up in a black on black on grey outfit in the cold weather.

Why is that?

An easy solution is to pop your favourite black/grey sweater dress and black boots with a touch of the blues.

An added bonus: polka-dots are so in right now!

Polka-Dot Blue Stockings - $19.90 - Zara

Speaking of ditching black…

A colourful coat like this one will make you stand out from the crowd.

Coat with Faux Fur Collar & Faux Leather Trim – $182.70 – ASOS.com

Keep your fingers warm on the drive to work.

Meanwhile, you can wake yourself up with some stud-action!

Studded Leather Gloves - $59.90 - Zara

It just wouldn’t be a Canadian winter without a classic toque.

Personally I must have a brim or it just doesn’t cut it.

Excellent for weekend wear and a practicle, stylish choice for out on the slopes.

Irish Cable Peaked Toque - $26 - Roots

I really like the colour blocking in this jacket.

It’s a nice change from the typical red and black plaid…

Usually plaid is a little too “farmer Joe” for my taste.

This way, the jacket remains relaxed & casual, but in a more sophisticated way.

I also try to buy pieces that have a black-on-brown combo – Makes it much easier to coordinate footwear.

Plaid Coat - $89 - Joe Fresh

Adorable, no?

A chunky heal makes me feel safer walking down icy sidewalks.

An excellent choice for a night out – stylish, yet keeps your toes cosey!

Shoes - $59 - H&M

This ear warmer fills me with vintage-inspired joy.

A nice change that also reduces hat-head.

Elegant, cheap and cheerful.

Braided Cable Knit Ear Warmer - $24 - Urban Outfitters

I hope you have enjoyed some of my winter warrior choices.

Now it’s time to hit the shops and prepare yourselves for the cold.

Aren’t you glad?  Now you have an excuse to shop!

See you out there 🙂

I’m sorry I haven’t posted my wonderful halloween pics yet!! I can’t find the cord that connects my camera to my computer, so you will just have to wait 😦

In the meantime, here is a wonderful quote to keep you occupied:

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”

– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

I just watched the new movie over the weekend. Not bad, but the book is wayy better!

Oh okay…Just because I like you my dear readers… 

Here is a sneak peak at our halloween costumes for this year. 

I just can’t wait.

20111101-110842.jpg

20111101-111036.jpg

More to follow at a later date. 

Until then, why not enjoy some of my older posts?

Until next time…